CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

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Posts Tagged ‘Rigsbys Kitchen’

R.I.P. Rigsby’s Kitchen / Cuisine Volatile

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 9, 2015

Rigsby’s Kitchen or Rigsby’s Cuisine Volatile if you have been around town a while, closed it’s doors this past weekend. It had a good run lasting from February 1986 to November 2015 in the same location and with the same owner which is impressive in the restaurant game. And when the doors closed the food was still good, the reputation still in high regard and the experience still special. Rigsby’s did not die out due to a loss of food quality or falling behind the times. While many reasons have been speculated on, a part of the demise is due to the success of the restaurant and the area it helped grow around it. Rigsby’s was a pioneer in the Short North in an age when the neighborhood still had shades of a red light district and the shadow of the Short North Posse in its aura. In an era before the Convention Center and downtown living, setting up business on the Short North was a risk. Owner Kent Rigsby took that leap of faith and in the process helped draw new people and new development to the Short North.

I won’t go on about meals I’ve had or for some of you readers meals you may not have had a chance to enjoy. I only wrote about Rigsby’s once – and I wish I had done so more. For me, Rigsby’s was a favorite place to eat during an OSU home game when I could plan on having the spot to myself.

Instead of food I’ll mention a few things that Kent Rigsby contributed to the Columbus dining scene during the lifetime of the restaurant, so in no particular order: he helped bring the Mona Lisa mural to the Short North, A James Beard Award Nomination in 2012, K2U, Eleni-Christina Bakery (named after his daughter), The Flatiron, Tasi Cafe, serving on the board of Dine originals, many top 10 of Columbus Dining awards and Ray’s Living Room (an art gallery).

Rigsby has never been one to toot his own horn or maintain a status quo for too long so I am sure the end of Rigsby’s means something creative and/or culinary somewhere down the line from Kent Rigsby.

If you care to share your own memories or comments on Rigsby’s, I’d love to hear them – comment away.

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Short North Secret: Rigsby’s Happy Hour and Monday $1 Oysters

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 11, 2010

Kent Rigsby has quietly and on occasion, seemingly with stealth, pioneered good food ideas in Columbus. He opened Rigsby’s in the Short North during an era where the area was more seedy than trendy. He sources local produce and meats when possible without making a big deal about the the extra effort and creativity needed to do so. Hidden in a nearby short side street is another project, Eleni-Christina Bakery, a wonderful baker of breads and other doughy good things. Tucked away in an alley known as Pearl Street is a pearl of a cafe called Tasi. Over the last several decades Kent had created many good things and recently he received recognition for his body of work with a James Beard Award nomination.

good bread served with any meal

While Rigsby’s is well known in the community and award winning, there are still some secrets to the restaurant. The attitude is relaxed, the restaurant is as friendly to jeans and a T-shirt as it it to a suit and tie. It is higher end without being high brow. The happy hour at Rigsby’s is hard to beat. It runs from 4 pm to 7 pm during the week. The bar menu maintains classic customer favorites while adding new items to the mix throughout the year. The tapas style menu offers any combination of three selections for $10 which is a significant savings in comparison to buying each item for $4 or more each. This menu is available all day during the week, until midnight on Friday and Saturday and from 4 pm to 9 pm on Sunday. Yes, Rigsby’s is open on Sunday.

My favored selection is pork belly, a small block of well cooked pork served with pickled onions and apple sauce. It is just enough to satisfy and make you want to order a second serving. Columbus, Pork Belly is the new bacon and Rigsby’s has both. The hand cut french fries are served with cheese curds with a light thyme gravy served on the side. This is the choice I order on autopilot each time I sit at the bar. An order of Ribsby’s fries is essentially a high end Poutine.


The food is supported by a fine wine list and a good selection of mixed drinks and cocktails. On Monday’s, the bar menu includes oysters on the half shell for a $1 each. The presentation is wonderful. If possible, order six or more so you can have the oysters served on a raised platter. As simple as the oysters are, there is something special about ordering oysters as a platter – it looks great and somehow makes the eating of each oyster more fun. Any number of oysters is served with a side of excellent dipping sauce.

The bar seats about 25 so the ambiance is cozy and comfortable. From the right spot at the bar one can see some of the action in the kitchen. Valet parking is always available at the front door. The restaurant usually confirms their oyster availablity as well as new specials via (@rigsbyskitchen) twitter. Rigsby’s is a restaurant that serves social media correctly – neither twittering too much nor too little and sharing information about what is on the menu instead of what they think about the weather.

So I shared a secret with you. Rigsby’s offers more than you thought. Don’t share this with everyone because I don’t want to lose my seat at the bar.

Rigsby’s Kitchen
698 N. High St.
Short North
614.461.7888
Rigsby’s web site


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